Business Today
PTI feed
Story

Modi 'promoted' firms of 'capitalist friends' at expense of BSNL, MTNL: Cong

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: April 4, 2019  | 18:03 IST

(Eds: Adds details) New Delhi, Apr 4 (PTI) The Congress on Thursday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of promoting firms of only "his crony friends" at the expense of state-owned BSNL and MTNL. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also accused Modi of conspiring to close down public-sector telecom firms by not allowing them adequate finances to come out of the red. He alleged that on April 6, 2019, the licence of state-owned MTNL shall be cancelled if it does not pay a whopping Rs 11,000 crore to renew its licence via TRAI and the services of its 7.7 lakh broadband users may get jeopardized. It also alleged that the state-run companies are planning to put jobs of thousands of its employees in jeopardy by reducing their retirement age. "The 'suit-boot-loot sarkar' of PM Modi bails out select crony companies but has left the largest public sector telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) and its sister company Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited (MTNL) in dire straits. BSNL and MTNL have been systematically strangulated by the Modi government and have been left to die its own slow death. Will the Modi government save and bail out state-owned BSNL and MTNL or will they only do it for cronies," he alleged at a press conference. "If the Modi government snatches the jobs of the BSNL/MTNL employees and murders these companies by giving them slow poison, then people of India shall not forgive Modiji for this crime," he told reporters. "Modi government's policy to help private telecom giants and crony friends has resulted in complete financial chaos in BSNL and MTNL," he alleged, adding that select private players have made the rates so low that no other company can survive solely on the basis of internal accruals that are generated by ongoing operations. While all private telecom companies are pumping in finance, BSNL has been barred by the Modi government from taking any loans. BSNL still does not provide 4G service to customers even as no new towers are coming up and the existing ones aren't even being repaired. Surjewala said BSNL and MTNL belong to the country's 130 crore people and alleged that the two companies have been "destroyed" as both firms are in huge debts. "Modi ji has promoted the firms of his capitalist friends. BSNL and MTNL are now on the verge of closure," he alleged. Surjewala cited the example of ILFS, which now has a debt of Rs 1 lakh crore due to the "economic mismanagement and financial bungling" of the Modi government and is being saved through state-owned LIC and public sector banks. He also alleged that public money of ONGC was used to buy out a Rs 20,000 crore scam ridden GSPC for Rs 7,700 crore and hard earned savings of 38 crore LIC policy holders worth Rs 9,000 crore was used to save IDBI Bank. The Congress leader also alleged that State Bank of India and other PSU banks were "used" by PM Modi to "bail out a bankrupt private company Jet Airways", which has a loss of Rs 7,355 crore and which owes Rs 8,500 crore to banks "The state owned BSNL and MTNL are facing the financial wrath of pro-rich, anti-people Modi government," he said. The board of state-run telecom operator BSNL Limited has reportedly approved the proposal to lay off over 54,451 employees and this constitutes around 31 per cent of the 1.74 lakh-strong workforce. BSNL employs 1,74,312 people and MTNL employees about 45,000 people. He alleged that the board has accepted three back-breaking suggestions that will destroy the future of 54,000 families -- of reducing retirement age from 60 to 58 years, voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) and blocking allocation of 4G spectrum to BSNL. "The move to trim the retirement age alone will end up reducing the employee count by 33,568 employees," he said, alleging that for the first time a large number of BSNL and MTNL employees were not given salaries for months. PTI SKC ASK SKC SMN SMN

Youtube
  • Print

  • COMMENT
BT-Story-Page-B.gif
A    A   A
close